Do you feel your marriage is becoming harder?
Want to know what you can do?
Here are 12 Ways to help prevent marriage breakdown….
According to recent divorce statistics, 42% of marriages in England and Wales ended in divorce in 2017 (the latest statistics available). The average age at divorce for couples who divorced in 2017 was 42 for men and 38 for women.
There is no such thing as a quick divorce. The process takes on average more than a year to resolve. Divorce is immensely expensive. It is distressing, and can have a long lasting effect for any children involved if handled badly, as well as the enormous emotional turmoil and strain for the couple. It is not a choice to be taken lightly.
Six common reasons that a marriage ends in divorce:
- Poor communication - Or none!
- Financial problems - When Money worries come in through the door… love goes out the window
- Affairs - Thinking the grass is greener on the other side and all that
- Interfering ex partners or intrusive parents - Boundary setting may be vital. Putting others before your partner is a recipe for disaster
- Lack of intimacy - Holding hands, hugs, kisses - they are an integral part of a relationship and when this is lost, partners can feel rejected. And although sex should only be associated with 5% of a relationship, it certainly can be the concrete that holds everything else in place.
- Differences in how to resolve conflict - This can be learnt behaviour mirroring their parents, role models or friends, or limiting beliefs that sabotage their ability to resolve situations productively.
Remember, whatever we are focused on we will find. So if you are looking for the problems, irritations, the final straw to validate your thinking, you’ll find it. So why not start looking for the good and work together on how to move forward in an agreed way, thinking of each other and setting mutual boundaries that work well for both sides. Often we only need to tweak what we are doing to get back on track.
Remember no one is a mind reader, so communication is vital. Interestingly, most people who come to me are convinced its the other person’s fault. Yet when we start working together, it’s amazing how quickly both parties start to see their role in the problems, and what new ways and tools they can use to deal with things in a much more positive and productive way to ensure a good outcome is achieved for all.
One message I received from a married couple I worked with after the process…
“A big thank you to you Nicky, I really did think it was the end for X and I. Thankfully we are back on track. Take good care and thank you for everything, you really have turned our lives around” T, Farnham.
It can help you manage emotions and feelings, prioritise what is important and will definitely help you highlight bad behaviours that have been picked up along the way that are contributing to your marriage breakdown. It can help you change the way you think - to turn negativity into positive focus and choices.
Many couples stay together simply for the sake of their children. According to a survey by Irwin Mitchell solicitors, 1 in 4 married couples are only together for the sake of the children, and plan to divorce when the children are older. This means you are allowing yourself to be trapped in an unhappy marriage for years - causing unhappiness for both parties. If you think the children aren’t affected, you would be kidding yourselves. Children are smarter than we think and all you are doing is teaching them bad ways to behave in relationships.
Having said that, what if you could get the marriage back on track? From personal experience, being a very independent person who is generally positive and productive in life, I have often thought it would be easier to be on my own several times in my marriage, as it seems an easier option than dealing with the other person’s negative stuff and actions.
However, my hubby and I have fought to keep out marriage on track, and the blips in the road tend to make us stronger and remind us we need to talk more and set the boundaries that help us both feel valued, equal and happy in our relationship.
1. Banish negative thoughts
If you are thinking you would be better off getting divorced, that is the way your marriage is likely to head. Tell yourself that divorce is not an option, focus on how you can make your marriage work. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.
2. Practice Forgiveness
This is a gift you can give yourself - Don’t allow resentment to build up. Don’t hold grudges. These negative emotions will only feed the marriage breakdown. Forgive and move on.
3. Don’t take your partner for granted
We all want to feel loved and special, even when you have been married a long time. Show how you still care - just a small gesture, or maybe a surprise date - bring some sparkle back into your relationship.
4. Support each other
You need to be there for one another, give your full attention when your partner is struggling with work or health, as you would like them to do for you, should the tables be turned. Show empathy and interest.
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate
This is key - deal with problems head on. Once communication breaks down in a marriage, resentment and contempt build, these problems then become more difficult to solve.
6. Self care
When you are going through a difficult time, it’s easy to stop looking after yourself, to become anxious, depressed and have sleep issues. It’s important to take steps to look after your health, this will enable you to cope better and have a more positive attitude towards improving your marriage.
It does not take much effort to give small compliments to each, but we become stubborn and it becomes a stand off - if you don’t hear your partner giving them to you, you don’t either! Take the first step - drop a compliment or two and see the positive results!
8. Be responsible for you
Take responsibility and control for the way you think, the way you feel, how you behave and the way you speak. In NLP terms, these are the four powers - these are the things only you can truly control. You cannot control how other people think, feel, behave or speak. If you try it only bring stress, so stop trying to and focus on yourself.
9. Give feedback not judgement
Rather than making critical statements that make your partner feel attacked and put your partner on the defensive. Explain how you feel about a situation and how doing their doing something differently could make you feel much better.
10. Learn to stand up for yourself
If you feel that your partner is being a bully, and you’re not getting your needs met, you need to deal with the situation, to set boundaries. If your partner does not understand or wish to take it on board, then it is time to seek some professional advice.
Don’t hesitate to get help! It is not a weakness to realise that you need a third party for support to help you get your marriage back on track.
12. Team work
You both have to want to keep your marriage on track. It has to be a joint effort.
Whatever the reason for the breakdown of a marriage, when you have done everything in your power to try and make it work and you have not succeeded, perhaps it is time to consider the next step. You cannot spend the rest of life in a state of constant unhappiness, feeling trapped in your life, unable to see a bright future together on the horizon - that is very unhealthy!
In the next part of this three part Blog, I will be looking at the process of divorce, how to protect yourself and those around you - and give you some tools to help you cope with the emotional turmoil to come.
If this resonates with you and you would like some help to move forward, please do get in touch